Longwood Gardens — East Gardens, September 2013: Part II

 

The Whispering Bench

The Whispering Bench

 

Brook running through the forest

Brook running through the forest

 

Gazebo by the lake

Gazebo by the Large Lake

 

71 - Flower, Sept 7

 

The lake from the gazebo

The Large Lake, seen from the gazebo

 

Small lake, seen from the gazebo

Shaded end of the Large Lake, seen from the gazebo

 

The gazebo

The gazebo

 

53 - Light orange flower, Sept 7

 

Historic tree propagation

Historic tree propagation

 

The large lake

The Large Lake

 

110 - Treehouse, Sept 7

The Canopy Cathedral Treehouse, Sept 7

 

Water running from the lake to the step cascade in the Italian Garden

Water running from the Large Lake to the step cascade in the Italian Garden

 

Advertisements
Posted in Gardening, Historical Sites, My Photos, Nature, Places to See | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The 21st Annual The Write Stuff Writers Conference 2014

"The Essential Elements of Online Marketing" Workshop with Don Lafferty, Mar 20

Some attendees at “The Essential Elements of Online Marketing” Workshop with Don Lafferty, Mar 20

If you are a writer or are even considering the possibility of becoming a writer and have never attended a writers conference, I urge you to do so. The primary benefit of attending a conference is, of course, the wealth of information, insights, and encouragement provided by the authors, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals in the many workshops and panels. An additional and equally important benefit is meeting and connecting face to face with other writers. Writing is a solitary occupation and when we writers face difficulties, we often feel alone, discouraged, and overwhelmed. Hearing stories from others who are encountering the same frustrations and difficulties — as well as sharing each others’ strategies and successes — is inspiring and empowering. Catching up with rarely seen friends, making the acquaintance of fascinating writers in diverse genres, and having diverse, interesting discussions enhances the whole experience.

Jennifer Hubbard presenting "Teen Voices - Writing YA ", Mar 22

Jennifer Hubbard presenting “Teen Voices – Writing YA,” Mar 22

If you hesitate to break out of your comfort zone to attend a writers conference, you might try attending a smaller conference first, especially if you tend to be introverted like I am. The Write Stuff Writers Conference, hosted by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG), is a good place to start. I’ve attended this conference a number of times, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone. While I prefer attending conferences and conventions with a friend, I meet more people when I go by myself, as I did this year. The writers who attended The Write Stuff this year were an especially friendly, welcoming group. When I sat at any table, people introduced themselves and we soon became involved in lively conversations. So I must give a big shout out to all the conference attendees. You are all awesome! (And that is not an exaggerated cliche.)

Karen E. Quinones Miller presenting "Showing versus Telling ", Mar 22

Karen E. Quinones Miller presenting “Showing versus Telling,” Mar 22

Registration for the conference begins in mid-January. Since space in the hotel is limited and the conference sells out each year, I advise you to sign up early so that you don’t miss out.

Kathryn Craft presenting "Writing That Matters," Mar 22

Kathryn Craft presenting “Writing That Matters,” Mar 22

When you arrive at any conference or convention, you have to go at the registration table to pick up your name tag, conference schedule, and materials. The table at The Write Stuff is located in the same place each year. I greeted the woman behind the table and she asked me what grade level I taught. The question astonished me — while I am a retired high school teacher, I don’t think people automatically categorize me as a teacher when they see me. After I answered the question, the woman asked me if I had come for the writing or the iPad workshop. Another odd question. I hadn’t looked at the list of workshops for a while, but I didn’t remember seeing an iPad workshop. I said I had come for writing. She searched for my name on the list, and it wasn’t there. That’s when she asked if I had come for the writing conference and not for the teachers’ writing workshop. We had a chuckle over the mistake, and I went on to find the correct registration table.

Scott Nicholson presenting "Nurture Your Inner Hack: The Best Way to Get Your Story Down," Mar 21

Scott Nicholson presenting “Nurture Your Inner Hack: The Best Way to Get Your Story Down,” Mar 21

The keynote speaker, Hank Phillippi Ryan, best-selling author and investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate, gave a rousing address “It’s All About the Story.” She related the riveting story of how she became the on-air reporter relating news of the Boston Marathon bombing and ended her speech with words of encouragement that left us all inspired.

Keynote Speaker Hank Phillippi Ryan, Mar 22

Keynote Speaker Hank Phillippi Ryan, Mar 22

I wish I could pass along all the information from the conference, but since that isn’t possible — I took fourteen pages of notes — I”ll just offer a few tidbits that especially caught my attention. [If you’d like to know more about the workshops offered, check out my post on the Author Chronicles and go to the conference website link above.]

Don Lafferty presenting "The Essential Elements of Online Marketing with," Mar 20

Don Lafferty presenting “The Essential Elements of Online Marketing,” Mar 20

Here are some of the gems I came away with:

  • Don’t lock yourself into one format. If you’ve written a novel, consider making it into an audio book, a graphic novel, a screenplay, and/or a comic book. Multiple formats of your story can provide multiple revenue streams. [From “Re-Imagining Your Writing” with Scott Nicholson]
  • Social media is an important marketing tool, regardless of how your book is published. All your social media should connect back to your website. 90% of consumers depend on peer recommendations. Email is still the #1 way content is shared on the internet; Facebook is #2. Facebook advertising is effective and relatively inexpensive. [From “The Essential Elements of Online Marketing” with Don Lafferty]
Sally Apokedak presenting "Make Your Plodding Prose Prance and Your Plot Dance," Mar 21

Sally Apokedak presenting “Make Your Plodding Prose Prance and Your Plot Dance,” Mar 21

  • The #1 rule of social media is to give a lot more than you get. You should post 10-12 other things for each sales post. Put your book covers on Pinterest; a good book cover is essential for print books. Authors should have an online newsroom on their websites to provide convenient access to all pertinent information for editors, reporters, and other interested people. [From “I Finally Finished My Book! Now What? Options for Modern Authors” with Mary A. Shafer]
  • Remember that what we think is a typical teen voice is a stereotype. Each teen is an individual with a unique voice. Dialogue is not speech but “an imitation of the essence of speech.” Each person’s voice has its own rhythm, vocabulary, humor (of lack of it), attitude, and expression. Be careful of the use of slang — it will soon be outdated. Don’t forget that part of the dialogue for today’s teens will include email, texts, and IM. [From “Teen Voices: Writing YA” with Jennifer Hubbard]
Phil Guinta presenting "Time Management for Writers," Mar 22

Phil Guinta presenting “Time Management for Writers,” Mar 22

  • Figure out where you are wasting time during the day; use that time for writing or planning. You might have to sacrifice something to gain the time to write. If you are too tired or stressed to write on a particular day, use the time to do research or some other phase of the writing process. Remember that small victories are important. [From “Time Management for Writers” with Phil Guinta]
  • Think about having more diversity in your characters. Create characters of a variety of races and ethnicity. Think outside the box for marketing. Who are your readers? Think of unique ways you can connect with them. Instead of just putting your book fliers out on tables at conventions, plaster them on bulletin boards and utility poles around town. [From “Guerilla Marketing” with Karen E. Quinones Miller]
Mary A. Shafer presenting "I Finally Finished My Book! Now What? Options for Modern Authors," Mar 21

Mary A. Shafer presenting “I Finally Finished My Book! Now What? Options for Modern Authors,” Mar 21

And now a plug for the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group: if you live with an hour or two’s drive from Allentown, think about joining the group. In addition to monthly meetings, the group offers a monthly Writers Cafe (craft discussion with reading and critiquing), newsletters, forums, and other programs which are free to members and low-cost for non-members.

Karen E. Quinones Miller presenting "Guerilla Marketing," Mar 22

Karen E. Quinones Miller presenting “Guerilla Marketing,” Mar 22

See you at the convention next year!

Posted in Conferences and Conventions, Fellow Authors, My Photos, Writing, Writing Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Longwood Gardens — East Gardens, September 2013: Part I

 

Longwood Gardens, located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, covers 1077 acres. The gardens are open every day, though prices and hours vary according to the season. Flowers and displays are changed from season to season, so any time is a good time to visit. Check the website for special events. Timed admission tickets are required, so purchasing tickets ahead of time is advisable.

 

The only remaining American elm of an avenue of elms

The only remaining American elm of an avenue of elms

 

Potted plants at the center of the Rose Arbor

Potted plants at the center of the Rose Arbor

 

Potted plants in the Rose Arbor

Potted plants in the Rose Arbor

 

The Rose Arbor

The Rose Arbor

Flowers and more flowers

12 - Flower garden Drive at Longwood Gardens, Sept 7

 

The Square Fountain

The Square Fountain

 

21 - Potted flowers on the wall near the Square Fountain, Sept 7

 

22 - Flower beds around the Square Fountain, Sept 7

 

29 - Flower bed, Sept 7

 

31 - Flower bed, Sept 7

 

37 - Flower bed along the path, Sept 7

 

46 - Flower bed, Sept 7

 

47 - Flower bed, Sept 7

 

49 - Flower bed, Sept 7

 

Posted in Gardening, Historical Sites, My Photos, Nature, Places to See | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mysticon 2014 Photo Gallery

Panel: Losing Humanity to Artificial Intelligence with Tom Kratman, Sunny Moraine, Peter Prellwitz, and  Randy Richards, Feb 21

Panel: Losing Humanity to Artificial Intelligence with Tom Kratman, Sunny Moraine, Peter Prellwitz, and Randy Richards, Feb 21

Panel: Tooting Your Own Horn with Gail Z. Martin, Michael A. Ventrella, Gray Rinehart, Tally Johnson, and Michael Pederson, Feb 23

Panel: Tooting Your Own Horn with Gail Z. Martin, Michael A. Ventrella, Gray Rinehart, Tally Johnson, and Michael Pederson, Feb 23

Mysticon 2014 was held from Friday, February 21 through Sunday, February 23.

Panel: Tooting Your Own Horn with Gail Z. Martin, Michael A. Ventrella, Gray Rinehart, Tally Johnson, and Michael Pederson, Feb 23

 Panel: Quit Using Logic to Destroy my Great Story with Travis Surber, Bill Rockwell, Cassidy Cornblatt, Emmy Jackson & KT Pinto, Feb 23

Panel: LOL -- Writing Humorous Speculative Fiction with Andrew Luckett, Travis Surber, Alexandra Christian, KT Pinto, and Patrick Thomas, Feb 22

Panel: LOL — Writing Humorous Speculative Fiction with Andrew Luckett, Travis Surber, Alexandra Christian, KT Pinto, and Patrick Thomas, Feb 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An extra special event, the wedding of Charles and Emily, took place at the end of Opening Ceremonies. I really enjoyed being one of the wedding guests, and I wish the newlyweds all the best.

After opening ceremonies, awaiting the bride, Feb 21

After opening ceremonies, awaiting the bride, Feb 21

The bride walks down the aisle, Feb 21

The bride walks down the aisle, Feb 21

The first kiss as husband and wife, Feb 21

The first kiss as husband and wife, Feb 21

I was in awe of the impressive dragon cake in the Hospitality Suite, which measured four feet by two feet and weighed 130 pounds. It must’ve taken hours and hours to make.

The Dragon Cake, Feb 21

The Dragon Cake, Feb 21

Police officer of the future guards the lobby, Feb 22

Police officer of the future guards the lobby, Feb 22

Even master wizards have wand problems, Feb 22

Even master wizards have wand problems, Feb 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A number of attendees wore colorful, elaborate costumes.

Panel: Social World Building with Leona Wisoker, Peter Prellwitz, Allen Wold, and Kenneth Hite, Feb 23

Panel: Social World Building with Leona Wisoker, Peter Prellwitz, Allen Wold, and Kenneth Hite, Feb 23

Panel: The Evolution of YA Literature with Tiffany Trent, Angie Smibert, Michael M. Jones, and Stuart Jaffe, Feb 21

Panel: The Evolution of YA Literature with Tiffany Trent, Angie Smibert, Michael M. Jones, and Stuart Jaffe, Feb 21

 

Two of the guests not only write fiction but also write songs, play guitar, and sing — very talented folk.

Koffee Klatch with Gray Rinehart, Feb 22

Koffee Klatch with Gray Rinehart, Feb 22

Multi-Media Hour with Danny Birt, and helper Paula Jordan, Feb 22

Multi-Media Hour with Danny Birt, and helper Paula Jordan, Feb 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The convention hosted several live podcasts and showed a series of Indie films.

Randy Richards and Cassidy Cornblatt in the Dragons through the Ages panel, Feb 22

Randy Richards and Cassidy Cornblatt in the Dragons through the Ages panel, Feb 22

Baen live podcast: Tony Daniel, Laura Haywood-Cory, and Gray Rinehart interview author Tom Kratman, Feb 22

Baen live podcast: Tony Daniel, Laura Haywood-Cory, and Gray Rinehart interview author Tom Kratman, Feb 22

 

Guest panelists discussed a variety of topics related to science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, paranormal, art, and media; all the panels I attended were informal and friendly, informative, and often enlivened with humor.

Koffee Klatch with Todd McCaffrey, Feb 22

Koffee Klatch with Todd McCaffrey, Feb 22

Panel: Spooky Tales - Writing Ghost Stories with Alexandra Christian, Tally Johnson, and KT Pinto, Feb 21

Panel: Spooky Tales – Writing Ghost Stories with Alexandra Christian, Tally Johnson, and KT Pinto, Feb 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoyed the author readings, or Koffee Klatches. The audiences were small, which was a shame, for the authors were excellent readers and the selections from their stories left us wanting more. On the other hand, if a lot of people attended, the atmosphere would no longer be such fun and cozy events.

Koffee Klatch with Gail Z. Martin, Feb 22

Koffee Klatch with Gail Z. Martin, Feb 22

Koffee Klatch with Stuart Jaffee, Feb 22

Koffee Klatch with Stuart Jaffee, Feb 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The convention was sold out before it started this year, and attendees filled three hotels.

Panel: Social World Building with Leona Wisoker, Peter Prellwitz, Allen Wold, and Kenneth Hite, Feb 23

Panel: Social World Building with Leona Wisoker, Peter Prellwitz, Allen Wold, and Kenneth Hite, Feb 23

Multi-Media Hour with Danny Birt, Feb 22

Multi-Media Hour with Danny Birt, Feb 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One event I didn’t get to participate in was an evening trip to see the famous, lighted Roanoke star that overlooks the city from a mountaintop. The weather, unlike usual February weather, was warm and perfect for the outing.

Panel: Spooky Tales - Writing Ghost Stories with Alexandra Christian, Tally Johnson, and KT Pinto, Feb 21

Panel: Spooky Tales – Writing Ghost Stories with Alexandra Christian, Tally Johnson, and KT Pinto, Feb 21

Koffee Klatch with Gray Rinehart, Feb 22

Koffee Klatch with Gray Rinehart, Feb 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The convention staff and hotel staff at the Holiday Inn Tanglewood were friendly and eager to help anyone who had a question or problem.

Baen live podcast - Tony Daniel, Laura Haywood-Cory & Gray Rinehart interview author Tom Kratman, Feb 22

Baen live podcast – Tony Daniel, Laura Haywood-Cory & Gray Rinehart interview author Tom Kratman, Feb 22

98 - Costumes extraordiinaire, Feb 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music, dance, costumes, gaming, wrestling, self-defense, art instruction, magic — a science fiction convention has a lot to offer anyone who attends. Maybe next year I’ll see you at Mysticon. If you see me, please say “hello.”

Panel: Dragons through the Ages with Steven S. Long, Todd McCaffrey, Alexandra Christian, and Randy Richards, Feb 22

Panel: Dragons through the Ages with Steven S. Long, Todd McCaffrey, Alexandra Christian, and Randy Richards, Feb 22

Filk Performance with Danny Birt, Feb 23

Filk Performance with Danny Birt, Feb 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information and photos check out my Author Chronicles post Mysticon 2014.

 

Posted in Conferences and Conventions, My Photos, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Jersey Shore: Sunrise, July 29, 2013: Part 1

Dawn on the beach at Long Beach Island is beautiful, especially when clouds change its aspect over the minutes when the sun is rising. Imagine the sound of surf and seagulls and enjoy!

05 - Sunrise on the beach, July 29

 

16 - Seagulls on the beach at sunrise, July 29

 

23 - Sunrise at the shore, July 29

 

32 - Sunrise at the shore, July 29

 

44 - Shore birds at sunrise, July 29

 

54 - Shore birds on the beach at sunrise, July 29

 

64 - Shore sunrise, July 29

 

70 - Shore sunrise, July 29

 

74 - Shore sunrise, July 29

 

82 - The shore at dawn, July 29

 

85 - Seagull flying at dawn, July 29

 

92 - Dawn at the shore, July 29

 

108 - Sea gull flying at dawn, July 29

 

112 - Sea gulls flying at dawn, July 29Wishing you many beautiful sunrises!

Posted in My Photos, Places to See | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Rain Gardens Flower 2012

 

Irises in the rain garden the morning after the thunderstorm, May 25

Irises in the old rain garden the morning after the thunderstorm, May 25

 

Marsh milkweed in the old rain garden, day after rain, June 13

Marsh milkweed in the old rain garden, day after rain, June 13

 

Eastern purple cone flowers in the new rain garden, July 24

Eastern purple cone flowers in the new rain garden, July 24

 

Flowers in the old rain garden, July 24

Flowers in the old rain garden, July 24

 

Joe Pye weed in the old rain garden, July 24

Joe Pye weed in the old rain garden, July 24

 

Cardinal flower in the old rain garden, the only one that survived the winter, July 24

Cardinal flower in the old rain garden, the only one that survived the winter, July 24

 

Swamp rose mallow in the new rain garden with black-eyed Susans, July 29

Swamp rose mallow in the new rain garden with black-eyed Susans, July 29

 

Mushrooms in the new rain garden, July 29

Mushrooms in the new rain garden, July 29

 

The new rain garden, August 11

The new rain garden, August 11

 

The old rain garden, August 11

The old rain garden, August 11

 

The new rain garden, August 29

Blooms in the new rain garden, August 29

 

Seed pods, the new rain garden, August 29

Seed pods, the new rain garden, August 29

 

Flowers in the new rain garden, August 29

Flowers in the new rain garden, August 29

 

Posted in Environment, Gardening, My Photos, Nature | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Butterflies in the Rain Garden 2012

 

Male tiger swallowtail butterfly on purple coneflower in new rain garden, July 29

Male tiger swallowtail butterfly on purple coneflower in new rain garden, July 29

 

Monarch butterfly pupa, July 24

Monarch butterfly pupa, July 24

 

Monarch butterfly caterpillars, July 24

Monarch butterfly caterpillars, July 24

 

Monarch butterfly on Joe Pye weed, July 28

Monarch butterfly on Joe Pye weed, July 28

 

Bug or butterfly? July 29

Bug or butterfly? July 29

 

Swallowtail butterfly in the old rain garden, August 12

Tiger swallowtail butterfly in the old rain garden, August 12

 

Skipper butterfly, July 29

Skipper butterfly in the new rain garden, July 29

 

Swallotail, August 29

Tiger swallowtail, August 29

 

Posted in Environment, Gardening, Nature, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment